Today I have realised some of my frustration stems from there being no how-to manual entitled “Parenting a 12 year old girl with CFS” ! I mean honestly! Not that I have ever been a big reader of parenting books but I guess I had lots of other people around me I could talk to and well, I had been parented myself. This time I’ve got no real understanding of what it feels like to be a 12 year old with CFS and my daily decisions on what’s “good” parenting are somewhat torturous at times. I’m far more likely to indulge her and certainly more inclined to minimise her exposure to stressful situations. The latter occurs because stress makes her sicker. However, as part of growing it’s important for her to overcome little challenges to become more resilient and independent and to feel a sense of achievement. How does one judge which need is paramount when dealing with the latest challenge?
This is particularly on my mind as tomorrow Andrew and I jet off to our dear friend’s wedding leaving a very anxious girl behind. She is now the proud owner of a phone so that she can ‘contact (me) at any hour of the day or night’. It is one she can play games on too – on her therapist’s advice – to distract her when she’s anxious ! (She has been seeing a psychologist for a few weeks now to help her with the anxiety and deal with the difficulties of not being able to fully participate in life as she would wish to.) Never in a million years would she have had a phone this year except for our need to do whatever we could to minimise the stress of both parents being absent! There is some mother guilt involved but deep down I know I need to go and she needs to learn that she can be without me.
So this is my last post for a few days! Off to sunny Perth!